I tried to import a shapefile to postgresql. I used PostGIS shapefile import/export manager. Earlier I have done same thing but did not face any problem. But this time I am facing problem with encoding. First I tried to import into an exsisting database with UTF-8 encoding. It showed following error:

Shapefile type: Polygon
Unable to convert data value to UTF-8 (iconv reports "Invalid argument"). 
Current encoding is "UTF-8". Try "LATIN1" (Western European), or one of the 
values described at http://www.postgresql.org/docs/current/static/multibyte.html.

Shapefile import failed.

So, I created another database with 'LATIN1' encoding with collation C and character type C. Then tried to set client encoding to 'LATIN1' by executing the following query.

set client_encoding='LATIN1';

Now tried to import. But still it is showing client encoding is UTF-8 and import fails. Screen shot is attached. What to do?

Screen shot of shapefile loader

  • did you try to change the value for "DBF file character encoding" under Options? It should match the encoding of your dbf file. Feb 15, 2017 at 12:02
  • Yes, I also tried to change the dbf file character encoding under options. But, no luck.
    – LSG
    Feb 15, 2017 at 12:08
  • Can you provide the file you are trying to import. I can take a look at it to make sure it's nothing wrong with importer. Also note the version of loader you are using - click the About button to see.
    – Regina Obe
    Feb 15, 2017 at 13:07
  • I can't disclose the shapefile, sorry. Anyway I am new to postgres. Can you please tell me how to import using command line instructions instead of postgis shapefile import/export manager?
    – LSG
    Feb 16, 2017 at 9:39

1 Answer 1


I was facing the same problem last days, and that was due to german letters in shapefile attribute table, so for that I did the following:

Simply, just click on option button and change UTF-8 to LATIN1enter image description hereenter image description here

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